The European country of Italy, with its long Mediterranean coastline, has captured hearts now and again. Its heart-warming culture and mouth-watering cuisine make it a holiday paradise for all those who love to travel. Home to the mountains and the beach, Italy is gorgeous no matter which part of the year you choose to go there. Florence and its churches, Venice and its canals and the Leaning Tower of Pisa, all are urging you to plan your next vacation in Italy.
Planning a trip to Italy is one thing, executing it is another. The country is so rich in heritage, culture and places of interests, that a comprehensive guide is necessary. Read on to discover three absolutely breathtaking regions you must visit during your Italian vacation!
The Region of Lombardy
Situated in the North of Italy, Lombardy is a must-visit destination. Sharing its borders with Switzerland, Lombardy is one of the largest provinces in Italy. Its capital Milan is the home to the greatest names in fashion and high living.
What makes Lombardy Interesting?
If you are a lover of history and art, the castles that adorn Lombardy will mesmerise you. The Malpaga castle in Cavernago, Vezio castle in Verenna and the castle of Vigevano in Vigevano will leave the historian in you wanting more. The best way to enjoy this piece of history is to get lost in the mazes and rooms and let the walls speak to you. If art and architecture is your calling, then the Cathedrals of Lombardy will please your aesthetic eye. Artistic geniuses such as Leonardo Da Vinci and Bernini have graced the churches of Milano with their masterpieces. Santa Maria delle Grazie convent is home to Leonardo Da Vinci’s most iconic creation, The Last Supper. If the legend is to be believed, the Basilica of Sant‘Ambrogio witnessed the fight between the Saint and the Evil One, and strange sinister voices can still be heard in the premises!
City of Interest
Milan is considered one of the fashion capitals of the world and has been the centre of fashion since the Renaissance. Some of the leading fashion labels based in Milan are Armani, Canali, Versace, Bottega Veneta, Miu Miu, Valentino, Prada etc. The Quadrilatero della Moda is one of the largest and busiest shopping districts in the world. The Milan Fashion week is held twice in February/March and September/October every year. The opening night of Teatro alla Scala Opera is one of the most sought-after events that take place in Milan. The Ambrosian Carnival is the longest carnival in Italy and takes place in Milan every February to bring in the season of Lent. The Gravedona Chamber Music Festival will take place in Milan in August.
The Region of Tuscany
Situated in Central Italy, Tuscany is the place where some of the most iconic structures of art and architecture reside.
What makes Tuscany Interesting?
The breathtaking scenic landscape, serene beaches, rocky cliffs and standout cities such as Pisa and Florence, make Tuscany a holiday favourite. Tuscany is also home to some of the best vineyards in the world, and Tuscan wine is in high demand all over the globe.
Cities of Interest
If you have arrived in Tuscany, then the first stop has to be made at its capital city, Florence – the city where art, tradition and fashion live together as one. The place is heaven for lovers of art. Florence is home to the fathers of the Renaissance. Dante, Cimabue Andrea Pisano, Donatello, Leonardo Da Vinci and Michelangelo all have left their mark on Florence. Strewn with art galleries and museums, Galleria dell’Accademia di Firenze is the resting place of Michelangelo’s most famous sculpture David. Museums such as Villa Bardini, Horne, Gallery of Modern Art are must-visit spots. Uffizi has an unparalleled Renaissance art collection and so does Palazzo del Bargello. Florence City Centre hosts some of the most famous fashion boutiques in the world.
Siena is distinguished from the rest of the Italian cities due to the prominence of medieval art and architectures. Declared as a UNESCO World Heritage site, must visit sites include Palazzo Pubblico or the Townhall, Siena Cathedral, Piazza Del Campo and Torre del Mangia. Siena is even a desserts paradise, with panforte, cavallucci, and pan pepato leading the rooster.
Perfectly nicknamed “the city with a 100 churches”, Lucca has a number of places of worship such as the Cathedral of Saint Martin, Ilaria Del Carretto, Church of San Michel, Basilica of San Frediano and many more. You can go on top of the Guinigi tower and look down at gardens filled with trees and flower exhibitions. If you are a fan of cosplay then visit Lucca during October for the Lucca Comics and Games. Summertime is booked for the Lucca Summer Festival, a highly renowned music festival featuring the best lineup of musicians from all over the world.
The Leaning Tower of Pisa hardly requires an introduction. Home to one of the Seven Wonders of the World, Pisa sees the greatest tourist footfall than any other Italian city. Pisa is also renowned for having some established and premium quality universities. Piazza Della Pera, Baptistery and Palazzo Blu are perfect to spend evenings with your family. June is the best time to visit Pisa as a number of local festivities that take place, from Luminara di S.Ranieri to Gioco Del Ponte.
The Region of Sardinia
Last, but in no way the least, you must visit the Island of Sardinia to end your Italian vacation in style.
What makes Sardinia Interesting?
Sandy beaches on the exteriors and rugged mountainous terrain in the interiors, Sardinia is home to a number of caves. Su Nuraxi in Barumini is the oldest and dates back to the Bronze Age. Porto Cervo is the place to be in Sardinia if you are a lover of water sports, good wine and crazy nightlife.
Cities of Interest
The city of Olbia is located in northeast Sardinia. There are a number of Megalithic Bronze age tombs such as the Giants Grave, Riu Mulinu Nuraghe and the sacred well of Sa Testa. If you are a water baby, then the white sandy beaches of Rocce rosse and Porto Rotondo will leave you awestruck! The city provides exclusive access to the Emerald Coast. If you like discovering flora and fauna then Archipelago di La Maddalena with its marine park and islands is the place for you!
Cagliari is the capital of Sardinia. It is a perfect amalgamation of ancient art and architecture with contemporary cuisine and high living. Picturesque old homes like Palazzo Reggio and Cathedral of Santa Maria adds richness and class to Cagliari. Castello Quarters is the ‘it’ place for the city’s nightlife. The Marino Quarters below Castello protects the remains of the Roman Era, such as the church of Santa Eulalia. Anfiteatro and Botanical Gardens shouldn’t be missed if you want to have a glimpse of Roman ruins. Visit Cagliari in May to be a part of the festival of Sant’efisio.
The fountain of Rossello, Sassari Cathedral, Basilica Di Saccargia and Monte d’Accoddi are places of interests in the Sardinian city of Sassari.
While you must have heard everyone calling Italy the land of pizza and Pisa, there is so much more than Italy has to offer. For many, it is the dream holiday destination for a reason. Its amazing churches, museums art galleries and historical structures please art connoisseurs. The mind-boggling seafood, wine and fashion centres please those who appreciate the finer things of life. There is something for everyone who visits Italy and it is time you experience it firsthand!